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Court of appeals rejects evidentiary challenges

State v. John A. Augoki, 2016AP231-CR, 4/25/17, District 1 (not recommended for publication); case activity (including briefs)

Augoki raises two claims on appeal of his jury-trial conviction of three sexual assaults: that the jury heard other-acts evidence it should hot have heard (raised here as plain error) and that the court unconstitutionally limited his cross-examination of a state expert. The court of appeals rejects both in a fact-intensive opinion.

Augoki first argues that the jury should no have heard that he impregnated the alleged victim’s mother when she was under 18 years old. The court of appeals assumes that the admission of this evidence was error, but holds that it was not significant enough to be plain error, and even if it were, it was harmless. In essence, the testimony on the mother’s age at conception was unclear, and trial counsel made deft use of the conflicting testimony to support Augoki’s defense, and the state’s evidence (recited in the opinion at length) was strong. (¶¶16-48).

Augoki also claims the trial court violated his Confrontation Clause right when it sustained objections to his questioning of the nurse practitioner who had examined the alleged victim. The court of appeals again disagrees; here the thrust is that Augoki’s counsel eventually elicited all the information he sought with rephrased questions. (¶¶53-62).

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